I live in the southern Gulf Islands (Canadian equivalent to the San Juan Islands) and for the past week or so the island has been inundated with a red-brown flying insect. At first I thought it was just me having invited some strange thing into my yard by doing some strange permaculturey things, but when I went down to the store today it was the first thing the cashier mentioned. It looks a little like a flying earwig or a flying ant, but we don't think it's either; he said someone told him it might be some bug in its larval stage and that it shows up every year for about a week or two in late August and then disappears. I don't think it can sting, and it's not very mobile as it bumps into people/walls repeatedly for no apparent reason. Does anyone on here have a hunch on what it could be?
Those very small golden brown butterflies that have been so common this month are our native Woodland Skippers (there may also be other similar skipper species present, depending where you are). And yes, as several people have pointed out, they do look like moths with their fat little bodies and stubby wings, but they are actually butterflies. Rest assured they are not pests and are not doing anything to your plants. In fact, I found it a welcome surprise to see skippers appearing this year in high numbers—like they used to some years ago.
Burl Smith - that looks like the red shouldered bug. We have it in abundance, but it doesn't fly. At least, I haven't seen it fly. It's a true bug, and mostly just a nuisance like the box elder beetle. It seems to have a preference for certain plants. Removal of said plants and applications of insecticidal soap and DE seem helpful.
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